Clothing a child might seem unrelated to a college education, but when the college student is also a parent, the demands of both worlds can collide.
That’s why Monroe Community College’s Pathways to Success initiative holds a Baby and Toddler Clothing Pantry as part of its efforts to support expectant and parenting students and their families. Helping a parenting student support a family gives that student more freedom to focus on his/her studies, and shows the depth of the College’s commitment to the student’s success.
“Students really seem to appreciate the fact that we are thinking about their needs beyond the classroom,” said Ambika Howell, Pathways program coordinator. “It’s a service they are not accustomed to having at a college campus.”
Each semester since 2014, Howell reaches out to MCC employees seeking donations of gently-used baby and toddler clothing. Many times, students donate clothing as well. The effort brings in a generous amount of clothing.
Then, for two days, parenting students are invited to the clothing pantry to find clothing for their children. This semester, about 80 students took part.
“Every semester, students walk into the pantry in amazement,” says Howell. “I’ve witnessed students’ tears and smiles of pure gratitude.”
The Pathways to Success is an initiative funded by the New York State Department of Health and aims to improve educational, health, and social outcomes for expectant and parenting students and their families. The program serves more than 300 students each year.